Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Kateya karoon

Posted on: May 25, 2012


This article is written by Ava Suri, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog.

I heard this song often when the promos of Rockstar played on TV, I liked the tune but did not really listen closely. One time a friend asked me who Indira Billi was, and to educate him, I looked for some videos of her on You Tube. I came across a fetching song ‘Katiya Karoon’ sung by Shamshad Begum and performed by Indira Billi. I posted that song for my friend and remembered this composition of AR Rahman’s. In comparing the two songs I realized that the earlier Shamshad Begum one was sung like a folk song while this later song was sung like a sufi song. Some more research yielded that this song was based on a kafi by Bulleh Shah, the supreme sufi writer who lived in the later part of the 17th and early part of the 18th century in Punjab.

It is charming that what a man wrote 300 ago could still be sung to depict the sentiments of a young woman who is in love. Of course, Bulleh Shah’s love was for the supreme being, and our heroine is in love with a young man. But love is love, and no matter for who it is expressed, it is divine.

This song is sung by Harshdeep Kaur, who is a sufi singer. AR Rahman has always introduced singers that suit his song rather and try and fit the existing singers in the format. Hence, we had Baba Sehgal singing Rukmini Rukmini from his early movie Roja, he had Sukhwinder Singh sing Chhayya Chhaya, Daler Mehndi sang Thodi si dhool meri. These singers gave so much to his beautiful compositions, an earthiness that would not have come out if they had been sung by the usual playback singers.

There is something about the upbeat ting a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling with the sounds of tumbi that pick me up instantly, no matter how low I am feeling. This song is full of such sounds, and tabla and dhol and many folk instruments.

Punjab was a cluster of villages when Bulleh Shah lived and walked among the folk and wrote his timeless kafi’s. His poetry is resplendent with allusions of daily routine of the village people. One such activity is to string the cotton. I remember my mother-in-law telling me that she used to spend the afternoons on the spinning wheel, if she fell asleep while doing it, her mother-in-law would throw a shoe at her. They would string the cotton, and use the thread to make sheets and durries. This activity has vanished from the villages now. The art of making durries is limited to people who do it for money. There is no more spinning for your own requirement. Anyway, to go back to Bulleh, he saw the womenfolk spinning cotton day and night, and said :

I spin day and night, your cotton

The mechanical act of spinning cotton was used as a metaphor for spending day and night thinking of his ‘beloved’: the supreme god.

Me saari raat kateya karoon

I spin all night, your cotton

Saara din socha vich langda
Tere layi hun jeeon te maroon

I think about you all day
I live for you and die for you

Eh tan mera charka hove,
Hove ulfat yaar di, chitta roo

This body of mine is a spinning wheel
My beloved’s love is white cotton

Nachdi phiru tapdi phiru
Geeli main napdi phiru
Hadd karoon

I dance, I hop
As I press the sticks
I cross my limits

Yara bulleh lutiya karon
Mainu darr hun nahiyo jag da
Tere lai hun jiyon te maroon

I squander myself for my beloved
I am afraid of the world no longer
I live for you and die for you

I have tried looking for Bulleh Shah’s original verse containing this kafi, but am not able to find it. I have found several of his beautiful phrases used in so many songs, film and non-film. I am guessing this song is made up of such phrases. In which case, the song writer also deserves kudos for incorporating Bulleh’s fragments in his song. Harshdeep has sung this song with a lot of depth, not surprising as she is a sufi singer. Sapna Awasthi lends support with her vocals very ably. I admire AR Rahman for using so many beautiful instruments and sounds and conceptualizing this lovely song.

Audio

Video

Song-Kateya Karoon (Rockstar)(2011) Singers-Harshdeep Kaur, Lyrics-Irshad Kaamil, MD-A R Rehman
Harshdeep Kaur + Sapna Awasthi

Lyrics

Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling

Kateya karun Kateya karoon
Tera roo kateya karoon
Tera roo tera roo tera roo roo roo roo roo roo
Saari raatein kateya karoon
Kateya karoon kateya karoon
Saari raatein kateya karoon
Kateya karoon kateya karoon
Saari raatein kateya karoon

Saara din socha vich langda
Tere layi hun jeeon te maroon

Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling

Eh tann mera…. charkha .hove
Hove ulfat yaar di….
Chitta roo

Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling
Ting ling a ling a ling a ting a ling a ling

Nachdi phiru tapdi phiru
Geeli main napdi phiru
Hadd karoon hadd karoon hadd karoon roo roo roo roo roo roo
Yaara Bulleh lutiya karoon.. lutiya karoon lutiya karoon
Yaara Bulleh lutiya karoon
lutiya karoon lutiya karoon

Yaara bulleh lutiya karoon

Mainu darr hun nahi o jag da
Tere lai hun jeeyun te maroon

Katto roo…
Katto roo…

Main saari raat kateya kateya karoon
sari raat kateya kateya karoon
sari raat kateya kateya karoon
sari raat kateya kateya karoon
Main sari raat kateya kateya karoon….
Saari raat kateya kateya karoon

5 Responses to "Kateya karoon"

Beautiful write-up, Ava, You really should write more often. You are able to paint a picture very well. And with an eye for detail. Loved the way you also made a connection between the Sufi style of 300 years ago, and the modern style of ARR.

I’ve never heard this song before. And, seeing it is 2011, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. 🙂 But it just goes to show that one should not have a mental block about any era – go by the ear, not by the era. 😉

Thanks a lot, Ava.

Like

Surprised to see this write -up about a new song on this blog.
Thanks for the information about the song.
Very well written article.
Like it.

Like

Thanks AlpanaAlpana. I loved the song a lot, and thought it was good to write about a current song for a change 🙂

Rajaji : Thank you for your kind words, and indeed some recent songs are very very tuneful.

Like

Ava ji

Informative,educative,nice post,
Song of Rockstar Wow!!!!
Raja ji is right, you should write not “more often”, you should write “regularly”,
Till today,I did`nt know much about Bulleh shah,
I enjoyed the song and the post very much. Anticipating more such nice songs along with informative posts.
Thanks a lot.

Regards
Prakash

Like

Thank you for your encouragement, Prakashji.

Like

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